After a painful 10-month hiatus, season six of Game of Thrones is finally upon us. In honor of our favorite HBO drama, we’re planning a summer visiting the show’s most spectacular filming locations. Why don’t you come too?
Season 1: Northern Ireland
You might recognize this photo as the Kingsroad from Game of Throne’s first season. In real life, it’s known as Dark Hedges road, located in Stranocum, County Antrim. The beautiful tree tunnel was planted in the 18th century by a wealthy local family – the Stuarts – to impress guests as they drove up to the front entrance of their Georgian mansion, Gracehill House. Game of Throne fans will better know this road as the suspenseful path towards the Night Watch, where Ayra Stark travels disguised as a boy after escaping from King’s Landing. Season one was filmed all over Northern Ireland, and you can even take a guided Game of Thrones tour to learn all about the history of the filming locations and interesting facts about the show’s production too.
Fun fact: In February, the road was “defaced” by conractors who painted a dotted line down the center of the road. Contractors admitted their error and soon painted back over the road to restore its au-naturel feel
Season 2: Dubrovnik, Croatia
Dubrovnik, also known as King’s Landing, the capital of the Seven Kingdoms, formed the backdrop for Game of Thrones for much of Season Two. It began with King Joffrey’s tense Name Day ceremony in the season’s first episode at the historic St. Lawrence Fortress, an 11th-century limestone fort constructed to resist Venetian rule. Touring through the Old City, you might recall the location of the protest speech against the Lannisters from episode two, or if you’re willing to venture across the water, you’ll discover the Island of Lokrum, where Daenerys attends a garden party in the same episode. In episode eight, the famous Walls of Dubrovnik loom in the back as Tyrion and Lord Varys plot to win the battle against Stannis Baratheon’s army.
Fun fact: There are a number of Game of Thrones tours you can take when you visit Dubrovnik, but if you want to switch up your fantasy for some classic Shakespeare, watch Othello being performed at The St. Lawrence Fortress during the Dubrovnik Summer Festival.
Where to Stay in Dubrovnik
Season 3: Aït Benhaddou, Morocco
Aït Benhaddou lies in between the Sahara Desert and Marrakesh in Morocco, near the town of Ouarzazate. In the show, the city was used to represent Yunkai,the slave city defeated in battle by Daenerys. You may recall the triumphant arrival of Daenerys and her allies as they look to the gates of the “The Yellow City” in the seventh episode. Aït Benhaddou is a 16th-century village made entirely of clay and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.
Fun fact: The Game of Thrones producers weren’t the first to use Aït Benhaddou’s otherworldly charms: you might recognize the setting from Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator.
Season 4: Lake Myvatn, Iceland
On a desolate yet beautiful stretch of land on the northern tip of Iceland you’ll find Lake Myvatn, the ideal setting to emulate the conditions North of the Wall, where White Walkers roam freely. From the attacks the Night’s Watch men face to Jon Snow and Ygritte’s famed steamy cave scene, the Icelandic land represents the collision of raw beauty and despair that is key to the show’s aesthetic. When you take a tour of the area today, a scenic hike along the shore of the lake reveals stunning vistas, black lava fields and volcanoes, and the guides will even weave in interesting facts about the area’s history and Viking survival methods as you go. Be sure to don your most Jon Snow-esque fur coat!
Location fun fact: GoT superfans aren’t the only ones who jet-set to Lake Myvatn. It’s considered one of the premiere bird watching sights in the world in the summertime, where 115 different species can be seen, and for spa-goers, there’s also incredible hot springs.
Season 5: Seville, Spain
In the Game of Thrones novels, Dorne was inspired by medieval Spain, so it was only natural to venture straight to the source for the filming of Season 5. The Alcázar of Seville was once a royal palace for Moorish kings in the late middle ages, and is right in the heart of Seville. Fans will know Dorne as the southernmost tip on the continent of Westeros, home to notable residents like Prince Oberyn Martell. The drama-filled season five saw the battle of Bronn and Jaime take place here, as well as the battle of the Sand Snakes, the Amazonian warrior daughters of Martell.
Location fun fact: The Alcázar of Seville features the Renaissance palace, where Columbus signed his historic agreement with Queen Isabella before setting off to explore the world back in 1492.
Where to stay in Spain